Lileks takes on Moyers,
and of course he does it with great style, but, superficial as I am, I was thinking more of his comments on the Pompeii TV program:
It would probably be like the A& E special – the Romans seen through the “I, Claudius” lens (they all had posh Brit accents, except for the servants, who spoke in the all-purpose Husky Foreigner tone)
It’s all because I watched Cold Mountain the other day. There you have very tall Nicole (a native of the Commonwealth) sighing after not-so-tall Jude (a Brit), both doing their best impersonations of Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett accent. Just before that, I watched Albert Finney and Ewan (U-en) McGregor do their Americanized best in Big Fish; they did good, and stayed away from Tara, thank you.
Casting agent must be a strange profession. You cast Nicole and Jude so they can sound like Vivien. Back in the 1980s, casting agents wanted an all-American Dangerous Liaisons so they put Glenn Close and John Malcovich instead of Lindsay Duncan and Alan Rickman, who played the evil-French-people parts on London and Broadway. Meanwhile a casting agent saw Rickman in the Broadway play, and cast Rickman as a German terrorist in Die Hard. They cast Nicole in a movie because she’s top ticket draw, so she can get a plastic nose and play Virginia Woolf. Why not cast Gina McKee who’s a good actress, and actually looked like Virginia Woolf, instead? Lindsay Duncan, in the meantime, gets to play crazy Brits in exile in Under the Tuscan Sun, but at least she’s British.
There must be more to being a casting agent than hits the eye. Or the ear.